Biceps Toning with Tubing: Way Beyond 21s

See video

You may have heard of the biceps exercise 21s - here we are going to take it way beyond that, and really tone up your arms beautifully, for your little black dress.

We are focusing on repetition and form as usual with this exercise. This is about cosmetics, not size. I am looking for very high reps; the more, the merrier, all while keeping good form. Adjust your weight accordingly so that you can reach this goal. To increase the weight, lift your feet and step further out sideways on the tubing. To decrease the weight, use a lighter tubing. If you do not have a lighter tubing, you can do one arm at a time while standing on the tubing with both feet and the handle on the opposite end anchored in a Fitstrap or on a piece of furniture, even though you are still standing on the tubing. Small increments will always serve you better.



You have many options here. You can go with either Stroops or exercise tubing... even Thera-Bands.  Make sure to find the center point of the tubing or equipment of choice, step onto it with the arches of your shoes with both feet, so that both the balls and heels of your feet will secure the tubing from slipping from underneath you. It is best to wear sneakers, as the tubing may hurt your feet.

Even though I will be referring to tubing throughout this tutorial, remember that you can always use what you have.


Proper Technique, Posture and Tips

  • Hold the tubing, with your palms facing forward, fingers wrapped around the handles.
  • Step onto the center of the tubing on the arches of both feet as described above, keeping your feet together and with soft knees.
  • Rotate your elbow inward, keeping them into the front of your waist, while keeping your fists on the outside line of your body. It is vital that you maintain this elbow position through the entirety of this exercise.
  • Keep your abs in and lift your upper sternum slightly. This will prevent any sinking or rotating inward of the upper body, shoulders and chest.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together slightly at the very bottom of the blades, towards the spine.
  • Drop and relax your shoulders and upper traps throughout the exercise, keeping a long, relaxed line from the tip of your earlobe to the tip of your shoulder. Keep a long neck.

Perform the exercise and variations listed below.


The Exercise and variations

  • Bring your hands up ⅘ and down to starting point 7 times, then move directly into the next variation.  (Think ⅘ instead of all the way up, that way it won’t be so hard on your elbows).
  • Bring your hands up ½ way and back down, 7 reps.
  • Come all the way up, then ½ way down, for 7 reps.
  • Bring your hands up ⅘ and down to the starting point again, for 7 reps.
  • Rotate fists inward and outward while keeping your elbows in the proper position, for 7 reps.
  • Alternate right left pulse up down, for 7 reps.
  • Pump until burnout.


Top: Nordstrom Rack, Black
Pants: Lululemon Wunder Under Crop Reversible, Black/Navy
Shoes: Capezio Women's DS11 Fierce Dance Sneaker, Black

Stay tuned for future exercises from The Little Black Dress Workout!

Send me pictures of you in your Little Black Dress and tell me about your successes in the comments below!